Whittier Area Genealogical Society
Whittier Area Genealogical Society

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August 24, 2017 By: Christine Cohen
September 2017
I hope everyone was inspired by WAGS August speaker Sara Cochran to get their family photos organized and digitized. Sara presented us with the history of photography so we could narrow down photo dates based on their unique production period. One example is Kodak started offering KodaColor in 35mm film in 1958.
She then suggested a list of supplies to help organize photos by decade, then by year, then by month. She said scrapbooking items work great.  Make a timeline with your genealogy research to label photos. Remember to ask your family members to help with little details in a photo that may help date and identify the people or places. Since I am the youngest in my family, my much older brother and sister can remember events better than me.
We learned about “Metadata”. Per www.Wikipedia.com ”may be written into a digital photo file that will identify who owns it, copyright and contact information, what brand or model of camera created the file, along with exposure information (shutter speed, f-stop, etc.) and descriptive information, such as keywords about the photo, making the file or image searchable on a computer and/or the Internet.”  To learn more, watch a webinar by Thomas MacEntee http://flip-pal.com/videos/webinars/metadata/
Are you just not up the task of digitizing your 10,000photos?  Sara suggested scanning services like www.clickscanshare.com/ that will create and organize the files for you for a fee.
Sara gave us a wonderful idea about checking in the society and local gossip column pages of old newspapers to see if a family get together was mentioned.  Did your grandparents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary? Do you have photos from this event but can’t identity the people?  Perhaps there was a party that made the papers and listed all the relatives and guests who attended.
I went back in my files and calculated 25th, 35th, 45th and 50th wedding dates. I then looked in the http://rockrapids.advantage-preservation.com/ for the name McKee in 1932. I found an announcement of a party for their silver wedding anniversary. This can now accompany a photo of the event.
Christine Cohen
WAGS President
July 20, 2017 By: Christine Cohen
August 2017
At the July WAGS meetings we had our “Show and Tell” by four members.  Terry Berg displayed the photos restored by the 2017 WAGS exhibitor “Picture Perfect Photo Retouching & Copy”, their website is http://www.pictureperfectphoto.net/.  Deborah Mohr did a wonderful job of restoring Terry’s photos and if you go to the website, the lovely girl in the white dress on the left side with the long blond girls, you can see for yourself.  Consider getting those old photos made beautiful again by a professional so they can be passed down to your heirs.
If you have photos that you don’t know who is pictured or if you have rescued photos from a garage sale, consider posting them on websites like http://www.deadfred.com/index.php or http://familyoldphotos.com/ . You can search by surname or place. If you do a search for Whittier, CA there are some interesting old photos from the 1930’s to 1940’s of Whittier residents.
Our next presenter was Jo Hurdle; she shared an original Civil War Discharge Document from a person that is not in her family tree. She has spent a lot of time trying to understand why this important paper ended up with her family papers.  She has a small lead but she is still researching. I am sure this veteran’s Fry descendants would like to get this document back.
After my father passed away, we found a few graduation photos that he must have exchanged with fellow graduates in 1943 from Torrance High School. I took the time to research trees on Ancestry and FamilySearch to locate any living descendants. I was able to reunite all the photos except for one. All the families were delighted and grateful to obtain the photo.  So if anyone knows the family of Ralph Wolfe born about 1925, I would love to know.
Our third presenter was Roger Mount; he shared the genealogy items he created to take to Pennsylvania for his wife’s family reunion. They had 110 attendees and he brought the Family Tree Bingo Game to play with family members. What a great way to get people interested in their ancestors and hopefully share stories.  The website http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/WhatsNew9.asp  demonstrates this new feature in LegacyFamilyTree version 9.  He also created a book filled with pedigree charts, family group sheets, Census pages, WWI Draft Registrations, and Naturalization papers.  So next time you have a family get together try to entice people with a game or interesting documents.
Lastly, our Seminar Director, Rick Frohling presented “CSI: Mason City, IL” the account of the unsolved murder of the Mr. and Mrs. Meisinger. The newspaper stories of this murder were filled with half-truths and changing details from day to day. Many people in and outside the family were under suspicion and under arrest for a time since a large sum of money (the exact amount changed with each story) was stolen.  The story went nationwide to New York and California newspapers, far from this tiny town. Rick reminded everyone to search for morning and evening editions of newspapers since each could have different information.
The newspaper was Facebook, Twitter, and SnapChat for our ancestors. There are many free sites including,  http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/,  https://elephind.com/  and https://news.google.com/newspapers to search.  If you locate a juicy item, like Rick, please consider sharing it at the December “Show & Tell”. 
Christine Cohen
WAGS President
June 20, 2017 By: Christine Cohen
July 2017
What an in interesting presentation by Julie Huffman, the Genealogy Librarian at the Los Angeles Central Library. She demonstrated the helpful resources located at the Los Angeles Public Library located at 630 West 5th Street in Los Angeles. They are located on Lower Level Four. They have over 45,000 genealogy books that range from Family Histories, Heraldry, How-To Books, Immigration books, Local Histories, Maps, Military Records, Name books, Telephone Directories and Vitol Records. Plus you can use databases such as Ancestry.com, AmericanAncestors.org and FindMyPast.com on site at the Library. 
If you go to any Los Angeles County Library Branch you can acquire a Library card at www.LAPL.org to search websites www.HeritageQuest.com , www.NewspaperArchives.com , Los Angeles City Directories 1875-1970, Los Angeles Reverse Directories and Sanborn Maps from the comfort of your home.
The HeritageQuest.com website has Book Searches of over 28,000 Family and Local Histories. I searched for my ancestors “Robert and Deborah Sophia Cowden” of Jefferson county, OH. It found a book of Tombstone inscriptions for the county, which listed their burial location and death dates.  You can also do a location search of publications. So I tried the county name of “Cattaraugus” and it found a book about my ancestors who lived in the village of Franklinville on Bear Creek.  There are City Directories for small to large towns.  I found Margaret and Mary Coleman living at 321 De Kalb Street in Ottawa, Illinois in 1904. This is a tiny town of less than 10,000 people but they had a City Directory.
The NewspaperArchives.com database is very easy to use and has a lot of search choices.  They have over 2,700 newspapers for over 300 US cities. I did a search for “Clyma” in Wisconsin and found a wonderful article about “Whenever you see a hole in the ground you will find a Cornish miner”. It mentions my ancestor Francis Clyma immigrating from Camborne, Cornwall in 1827 to be one of the first miners in the state. Plus the Los Angeles Times 1881-1993, New York Times 1851-1993 and San Francisco Chronicle 1865-1922.
The 1890 Los Angeles City Directory is a nice substitute for the lost 1890 Census. Looking at it, we learn that Whittier is “On the S P RR, 12 miles southeast of Los Angeles and has daily mail.” Plus Mark Anthony is a Barber, W. Harvey is the Proprietor of the Greenleaf Hotel, J.W. Gevin runs the Livery, Sadie Singerland is a Milliner and Mrs. C. S. Strong sells fruits and pampas plumes.
The Digital Sanborn Maps range for 1867-1970, you are able to view the layout and businesses of Whittier for many years ranging from 1888 to 1948. It lists the street blocks and building numbers.  I was able to locate the Window Cleaning business for my husband’s ancestor Isadore Horowitz at 26 Oxford Place in Richmond, New York in 1937.
Lastly, Julie suggested searches your surname in the Genealogy & Local History Index, checking their holdings for PERSI articles, keyword searches of your ancestor’s communities, checking surname dictionaries and the Coat of Arms card index.
 Julie said she would enjoy helping your from her Reference Desk at the library, take her up on it!
Christine Cohen
WAGS President 
May 24, 2017 By: Christine Cohen
June 2017
WAGS Program Director, Roger Mount gave an insightful presentation about the use of three retouching programs to assist you in learning basic tools to improve your photos. He suggested saving your most important photos as TIF since this file type does not compress pixels. However, realize that TIF does create very large file size.   You can download for free http://www.irfanview.com/ , https://www.getpaint.net/  or https://www.gimp.org/ . And they all offer tutorial videos.  I have never used any of these programs but I tried paint.net on a photo of my grandparents Leonard and Violet Johns from the 1940’s. This photo was blurry and way too light.
Paint.net was simple to download and to use.  I remembered to work on a copy and NOT the original as Roger emphasized.  After just 20 minutes of making adjustments, I made the photo much clearer to view. It still needs work but I got a good start.
Our afternoon program, brought us Jane Neff Rollins. She told us about the usefulness of Labor Union Documents for Genealogical Research. She suggested looking for documents that list your ancestor’s occupations. If they were, just as examples, Tailors, Musicians, Railroad Workers, Auto Workers, Mine Workers, Cigar Makers or Blacksmiths, there could be ledgers, local meeting minutes, membership cards and newsletters. These resources can give unique details about your ancestor’s lives. Also, perhaps photos from meetings or newsletters.  Plus these newsletters mention members who are past due on dues, where members have relocated after retirement and even obituaries of union members
You are going to have to dig deep to find these resouces with key word searches of  the “Name of Union + Location”  and try  https://dp.la/ , https://books.google.com/  and https://books.familysearch.org/
Christine Cohen
WAGS President 
April 18, 2017 By: Christine Cohen
May 2017
I hope you all enjoyed my presentation on the genealogy website www.MyHeritage.com.  It has over 80 million users that have created over 2.4 billion tree profiles on 35 million family trees including those from www.Geni.com .  You can download their Family Tree Builder software to create your own tree from scratch and then save and update your work on their site. Or upload a tree of less than 250 people from a GEDCOM for free.  You are able to purchase three different subscriptions levels to use their 7 billion historical records from all over the world.  There is an APP for Android and IOS that you can download to your mobile device that will automatically sync with your online tree. Also, consider inviting other family members to view, update, and add records, photos, and family stories to your tree. You can control this tree as the administrator and are notified of all changes.
However, if you have a SCGS membership, they offer the Library edition to research 98% of the databases as a remote access benefit.  They have some unique collections like the Danish National Archives to index Census and Parish records from 1646 to 1930 (a total of around 120 million records). The Pedigree Map is a fun tool to plot family events like birth, marriage and death on a world map. This can help you see migration patterns, where families connected and note geographic similarities.  Plus, clean up place names on a Location Standardization Function.  The Tree Consistency Checker tool helps you find illogical events in your tree like a woman dying at 150 years old or having a child at age 85 years old.
Lastly, they now offer an autosomal DNA test to take and uncover your ethnic origins and connect with cousins.  And for now you may upload for free your raw DNA results from www.Ancestry.com, www.23andMe.com and www.FamilyTreeDNA.com to their site. If you want to learn more I would suggest watching the four free webinars on www.LegacyFamiliyTree.com.
Our afternoon speaker was Erin Fletcher Singley, the digital curator of the local history collection at the Whittier Public Library. She demonstrated the online resources of Whittier newspapers from 1888 to the present at http://www.cityofwhittier.org/depts/lhr/about/newspaper.asp .  City and Street Directories from 1903 and 1911 are digitized and searchable online. Whittier Maps abound at http://www.cityofwhittier.org/depts/lhr/about/maps.asp.  There are over 12 linear feet of vertical files of newspaper clippings organized by subject.  Plus, for fun there are over 200 matchbook covers from local Whittier businesses to get a view back in time.
She looked up member’s home addresses to see details about their homes over time in the newspapers. So we saw when homes were bought and sold, who attended a bridal shower, and who graduated high school.  These details can give great insight to your family since the newspaper was the social media of the day.
If you have family that has lived in Whittier for a long time, I would suggest taking some time to view these online resources. Or take the time to visit the library in person and see what Erin can help you find.  She looks forward to meeting you!
March 21, 2017 By: Christine Cohen
April 2017
At the March meeting we had two captivating and useful presentations. The morning session by our Past President Rick Frohling, illustrated the need to find and use available State Census forms. Www.Google.com  and www.FamilySearch.org  are your best sources to locate where they are online, at a university, or a library.  Rick told us that they could be designed to collect specific data, such tallies of school-age children and potential school populations to predict needs for teachers and facilities or age of males for potential militia service. Also, they can be a good bridge for the missing 1890 Federal Census. Rick showed us many examples of the wide and varied questions that were asked, many different than the Decennial Federal Censuses:
1865 Minnesota: “Soldier in service on June 1, 1865”- A lead to check for Military and Pension records
1895 Wisconsin: “Nativity” (United States / Germany / Great Britain / Ireland / France / British America / Scandinavia / Holland / All other Countries) - A lead to country of origin
1925 New York State Census: “Number of Years in the US / Citizen or Alien / If Naturalized When and Where” – A lead to locate the courthouse where these papers were filed and executed
1925 Iowa State Census: “Full Maiden Name of Mother / Place of Birth / Age at last birthday” 
1935 Rhode Island State Census: “Ever had Measles / Scarlet Fever / Diphtheria / Schick Test“
1945 Florida State Census: “Degree of Education” A lead to check for yearbooks and/or school records
Even if the State Census is just a head of household like Mississippi in 1845 or Alabama in 1855, it helps put your ancestor in a time and place between the Census years. And you can analyze who were the friends, associates and neighbors of your ancestors to learn about their FAN Club.
Our afternoon session, we had representatives from the Association of Professional Genealogists, Southern California Chapter come speak to us about when, how and why to hire a professional researcher.  WAGS welcomed Jean Wilcox Hibben and Barbara Randall who discussed utilizing the services of genealogy professionals listed on https://www.apgen.org/. They said that you should always obtain a written agreement for the work to be performed and the compensation. A retainer is suggested to protect both parties.  Be prepared to provide ALL of your research, so work is not duplicated. Ask for references to see if the researcher can provide what you are expecting. APG has over 2,800 members worldwide to choose from, so if you have hit a brick wall consider having a professional to help break it down. Or if you are contemplating becoming a professional yourself researcher consider joining APG to improve your skills, learn advanced instructions and expand professional contacts.
Cyndy Richardson talked about using https://new.genlighten.com/ to find the right researcher for your project by locality, specialty, or repository. The background, reviews, references of the all the professional researchers are all in one place to do basic document lookups to large-scale ancestral lineage studies.
Christine Cohen
WAGS President 
February 21, 2017 By: Christine Cohen
March 2017
Maps, Maps and more Maps, our speaker Larry Naukam of the Rochester Genealogy Society   http://nyrgs.org/index.php gave us hundreds of resources for our ancestral locations, then and now.
I hope you put these suggestions to good use. I know I thought about my Cornish Grandmother Violet Odgers Johns who arrived by herself at Ellis Island on October 31st, 1915 aboard the S. S. New York. She had married Leonard Johns in June 10th 1913; however, he had to get back to New Mexico to earn money to send for her to come to America. So just four days later, on June 14th, 1913, he sailed on the S.S. St. Paul to New York. So she had to wait over two years to see her husband again.   Upon arrival she needed the assistance of the Travelers’ Aid Society as listed on her passenger arrival record, to go by railroad from New York City to Mogollon, New Mexico. I used the Library of Congress’ map collection https://www.loc.gov/rr/geogmap/ to view railroad route maps. This is a wonderful resource that you need to explore.  It showed she likely went from New York to Chicago to St. Louis to Dallas to El Paso to Albuquerque to Mogollon. This took weeks for a young girl from a tiny English village to travel across the US to a reach a tiny mining community in the mountains of the Southwest United States.  
Did you ancestor fight at the battle of Antietam or many other battles of the Civil War? At https://www.loc.gov/item/map05000006/ it has topographical relief maps from September 1st to 14th, 1862 with a daily account of the Antietam conflict. It shows where the Union and Confederate regiment forces fought and the Generals who commanded them. So dig out those pension files and service records to locate your ancestor’s military activity.
At www.Ancestry.com it has a large collection from 1860-1918 of county land ownership atlases that list property owners’ names. They also indicate township and county boundaries and can include photos of county officers, landholders, and some buildings and homes. This can show you neighbors and family members who live next door or perhaps across the river.  This could give you a clue to the name of the girl that your young male ancestor married a few farms away. The 1869 Franklinville, Cattaraugus, New York map shows my ancestor as listed as J.T. Boice Est. since he had just died and his property was in probate.
Probably one of the biggest map collections online are at http://www.davidrumsey.com/ Have you used Fire Insurance maps? They have Halifax, Nova Scotia maps that show who owned many buildings and where every cemetery, church, and park is located in 1878.  For 1872, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania maps show all the land owners. There are over 100 maps for Providence, Rhode Island and over 700 maps of San Francisco, California from 1851 to 1948.
Lastly, https://glorecords.blm.gov/default.aspx the Bureau of Land Management should be searched to associate an individual (Patentee, Assignee, Warrantee, Widow, or Heir) with a specific location (Legal Land Description) and time (Issue Date). They have a variety of Land Patents, including Cash Entry, Homestead and Military Warrant patents. So if you think your ancestor male or female had  Homestead land, this is where to check and then write for the complete file.
Christine Cohen
WAGS President
January 22, 2017 By: Christine Cohen
February 2017
WAGS has many interesting and unique presentations scheduled for 2017. I hope all of you plan to attend every meeting to listen and learn. By the time you read this our seminar with Dr. Michael Lacopo will be over and I am sure it will have been a success. I am so proud of all the WAGS members who put in so much volunteer effort each year to make our annual seminar a success. If you enjoyed the 2017 seminar, help plan the 35th in 2018, ask any board member how to become a welcome part of the team.
WAGS welcomed 2017 with two presentations by Barbara Randall. In the morning she demonstrated how to use the www.Archives.gov website more effectively.  She said that they are trying to make the site more user friendly for genealogists. We must think like an archivist on how items would be categorized and always note the National Archives Identifier number. She showed us that many of the National Archives resources have already by digitized and put online by www.Ancestry.com, www.FamilySearch.org and www.Fold3.com. Explore the entire website since resources, information and links abound!
Just poking around the website, I found Identifier # 301979 that has a list of “Rough Riders” that were wounded or killed at the battle of San Juan Hill in 1898. How about Camp Nelson in Kentucky, was your Civil War soldier stationed there?  Identifier # 279423 has the Records of Death and Internment that provides the decedent's name, rank, unit, cause and date of death, and burial location. For Native American, there is Identifier # 12563852 for Marriages of the Crow Nation 1896-1947. Did you have an ancestor that was incarcerated in Leavenworth, Kansas Prison? Then his inmate file could be online with a photo.  There is also the World War II Dead and Missing from Army and Army Air Forces located at https://www.archives.gov/research/military/ww2/navy-casualties
In the afternoon, we learned about Transported! Convict Records. Barbara’s ancestor was convicted of horse theft and transported to Australia for life! She was able to locate many records about his trial, voyage and his new life with a new wife. These convicts were a labor source for this new British colony. Australia’s State and Territories archives have resources to search, like for Queensland there is http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/resources/family-history/convicts. If you are searching for a lost Irish ancestor try, http://members.pcug.org.au/~ppmay/austlinks.htm, there we can learn about John Rogers of County Antrim who was 31, a soldier under Lord Cornwallis in the US Revolution, who was sentenced in 1783 to life in Australia for Highway Robbery. If you find your convict the make sure you search the digitized newspaper site http://trove.nla.gov.au/ I was able to find an obituary in 1915 for my ancestor Mary Jones Johns in Chewton, Victoria that says she ”Crossed the Bar”.
 So keep that mind if you have British, Scottish or Irish ancestors who just disappear, perhaps they went to Australia, maybe not by their choice.  
Christine Cohen
WAGS President

December 18, 2016 By: Christine Cohen
January 2017
I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year! WAGS members’ were lucky to experience good food, great friends and interesting stories at our December Potluck and Show and Tell meeting.  It is that time of year to make resolutions and make them a reality. So in our genealogy pursuit that means breaking down that brick wall!
Have you tried using Wiki’s? They offer information on how to find, use, and analyze records of genealogical value. Their content is variously targeted to beginners, intermediate researchers and experts. The first website I always check when I encounter a new ancestor and a new location is the Wiki on Family Search at  https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Main_Page . This site is constantly updated by other genealogists just like you with historical facts, online resources, maps, courthouses, local Family History Centers, libraries, and local genealogy societies.  You can also click on the Family Search Genealogy Research Groups on Facebook https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/FamilySearch_Genealogy_Research_Groups_on_Facebook  to get even more help from people researching the exact same towns, counties, and states!
This site lead me to the Cloud County Kansas Genealogy Society at  http://www.cloudgenealogy.com/ for just a small donation, they provided me with an obituary for my ancestor Viola Owen Fick. It gave me her birth date and place, marriage date and place and that they were homesteaders. So now I need to go back to the wiki and search “homesteading” and see what resources there are for Kansas.
Remember the resources are not just for the United States, but for 244 other countries.  So if you are lost in Germany try the wiki resources.  There are “How to" Guides, Gathering Information to Locate Place of Origin, German Research Online Tutorials.  Plus a link to http://www.meyersgaz.org/,  one of the best gazetteers for locating that tiny village pre-unification Germany.
I found really interesting articles about why my Cornish ancestors left Cornwall to find a better life in America. These “Cousin Jacks” numbered over 250,000 immigrants.  The collapse of the Cornish mining economy lead Francis Clyma in 1819 to immigrant to Wisconsin and Leonard Johns in 1910 to immigrant to New Mexico.
If you find a resource that is not listed on the website, you can contribute it to the wiki. There is a form that allows you to submit information on any topic without knowing how to edit in the wiki.  Simply type or cut and paste the information onto the form. A volunteer will review the information and then, based on relevance and appropriateness, transcribe it onto the wiki.
Lastly, WAGS has just adopted the Whittier, California wiki page for our Society to keep updated and help others:    https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Whittier,_California  Please take some time to review the site and see how we can improve it. Do you have information to share about Whittier?
Best wishes and Good luck in using the Wiki.
Christine Cohen
WAGS President 
December 15, 2016 By: Christine Cohen
December 2016
I am sure you all enjoyed the informative and interesting presentations by Butch and Jean Hibben.  There are so many free smart phone apps out there to improve our genealogy research. Did you go home and download www.evernote.com so you can capture a note and it will be available on all your devices, figure out a new way to use www.dropbox.com to save and organize, or how about store memories in https://photos.google.com ?
Butch suggested using either www.camscanner.com or Fast Scanner on Google Play. This holiday season is a good time scan photos or documents that your relative's have in their possession.  These mobile scanner apps make it so easy to preserve family heirlooms and make sure they are not lost or destroyed.
Also, you are able to share all your discoveries easily on all your mobile devices with free databases apps from www.RootsMagic.com and www.LegacyFamilyTree.com 
Jean gave us insight to those wonderful Genealogy shows we all watch on television.  They seem to expect a lot from their genealogy researchers to provide engaging stories on a tight timeline and budget. She worked on http://www.pbs.org/genealogy-roadshow/season-one/ they are available to watch online for free anytime.
WAGS has enjoyed a great year in 2016 starting with our very successful seminar with Thomas MacEntee and we are looking forward to the 2017 seminar with Dr. Michael Lacopo. WAGS had great speakers who taught us about Homesteading, military research on www.Fold3.com, Social networking on Facebook with other genealogists, proving your sources are accurate, using the family trees on www.FamilySearch.org, the Dutch in the New Netherlands, joining Lineage societies, researching your Overseas Ancestors, and breaking down brick walls.
Plus we over 79 members on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/groups/WAGSWhittier /  where I try to post a genealogy tip every day considering joining the group and we upgraded our website  www.WAGSWhittier.org please visit and enjoy!
I wish all of you the Happiest of Holidays and Good luck in the coming year.
Christine Cohen
WAGS President